More Venezuelans arrive via Icacos, Columbus Bay

While police locked down the coastal points at Beach Camp, Palo Seco and Erin on Wednesday night, three more boatloads of Venezuelans arrived at Icacos Beach and Columbus Bay.

A source who requested anonymity said the boats came in between 11 pm on Wednesday to 1:30 am on Thursday. Shortly after midnight, a heavy contingent of police came in, searching for the Venezuelans.

It is believed they fled into the forests near Constance estate, La Vege Estate, St Quintin Estate at near Columbus Bay. A few of them were later arrested but the majority are still in hiding.

"Things were hot here last night. Earlier on they picked up 12 of them at Fullarton Beach. The people who normally come for them did not show up last night because there was too much police around," the source added.

Usually, a maxi taxi is hired and the foreigners are carried to various destinations.

A photo of Venezuelans being held for questioning at the Cedros Security Complex circulated on social media on Thursday morning.

In an interview with Guardian Media, councillor for the area, Shankar Teelucksingh questioned whether the 360-degree radar was functional.

"I want to know whether the radar is working? How is it that the Venezuelans are still arriving at the southern coasts? Where is the Coast Guard? Is it that they are only patrolling to stop the Venezuelans ferries?" Teelucksingh asked. He also questioned why Immigration granted an Order of Supervision to 105 Venezuelans who were picked up on Wednesday at Aguillera Trace, Beach Camp.

One of the orders of supervision papers handed to Erica Yohan Mendoza Michelena advised that he has to report to the senior immigration officer at Knox Street, San Fernando. 

Teelucksingh said the Venezuelans should have received clearance to stay for one week in Trinidad to get supplies and then the ferries should have been hired to deport them back to Venezuela. He called on the Ministry to set up refugee camps and to liaise with agencies like the UNCHR and Red Cross to help the Venezuelans.

Many of those interviewed at Siparia after their release were left with nowhere to go. They eventually spent the night at the Irwin Park pavilion after Guardian Media implored chairman of the Siparia RegiionalCorporation Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh to find suitable accommodation for them.

Several business owners and church groups have offered to provide lunch for the homeless Venezuelans. Once registration begins, Venezuelans who qualify will be allowed to live and work in Trinidad for a year.

Guardian Media will bring you more on this as this situation develops. 

- by Radhica De Silva

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